Today is National Spinach Day, and I would be remiss if I did not share this pizza that I pulled from the oven on Friday. It is absolutely packed with the nutritional powerhouse that is spinach, and a few other key ingredients like feta and dill that give it the signature flavor of Greek spanakopita.
In a roundabout way, this meatless, sauceless pizza brings me full circle to the launching of my blog back in 2020. I have been known at times to take inspiration from the idea of “national” food days, and on this date in that year, I surprised my husband with a batch of spanakopita— the real kind, made with layered phyllo— and served it alongside a Greek salad and easy chicken souvlaki. With spinach being Les’s favorite vegetable, he took a picture of that meal and posted it (along with my national day inspiration) on his Facebook page.
That’s when it occurred to me that I should probably be doing that myself, not on Facebook but on my own platform. About 10 days later, I started Comfort du Jour.
Pizza, as many of my blog followers already know, is one of my favorite “blank canvas” foods, and for this tasty pie, I took inspiration from a different kind of recipe made by another food blogger, Diane Kochilas. She is an amazing chef who shares her passion for Greek food not only through her blog (linked here), but also several award-winning cookbooks and her PBS-aired television show, “My Greek Table.” It just so happens that Diane also went to grade school with my hubby back in the day in Queens, N.Y., and the only reason I mention that is because Les follows Diane’s culinary adventures on Facebook and recreates some of her recipes when he takes his turn in our kitchen.
Diane’s “warm spanakopita dip” has become a big-time favorite at our house. When I scanned the ingredients list on the recipe Les had printed— mozzarella, feta, fresh spinach, onions, leeks, dill— I began to imagine them rearranged on a pizza, and I finally brought that idea to life this past Friday. It wasn’t until this morning, when that picture of my spanakopita popped up in Les’s Facebook memories, that we realized the significance of the date. I decided to hustle and get this post ready to mark the occasion. So that’s the story of this pizza— inspired by a dip that was inspired by a Greek specialty— and it was delicious. A delightful way indeed to recognize National Spinach Day, even if it was not intentional!
As with most of my pizza creations, this one begins with my own sourdough pizza dough, but any pizza dough you like is probably fine because it’s the toppings that makes this one special. I bake in a very hot oven (550 F) on a pre-heated slab of steel, and the pie is done in only 6 minutes with that arrangement. On a pizza pan, it will take longer. If you have at least a pizza stone, I recommend using it for even baking of the crust. There is a fair amount of moisture in the toppings, and your crust will thank you for the extra bit of heat.
I like to shape the dough by hand, as it results in the light, airy crust we love. A little drizzle of olive oil, and then I layered on freshly grated mozzarella— no sauce is needed for this pie.
Next was a handful of fresh baby spinach, because I wanted to present the ingredient a couple of different ways. I crumbled up two ounces of feta (the kind packed in brine) and mixed it with chopped fresh dill. This was scattered over the spinach and then buried under a generous amount of spinach that had been sautéed with sweet onions and chopped leeks. A little more mozzarella, and I slid it into the oven!
This pizza is packed with nutritious spinach and carries all the flavors of the Greek specialty, spanakopita.
- 1 pizza dough ball (about 11 ounces), at room temperature
- 3 fat handfuls (about 3/4 pound) fresh baby spinach, divided (you’ll cook most of it, and keep a small handful fresh)
- 1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped leeks, white and very light green parts only
- 1 cup freshly shredded whole-milk mozzarella, divided
- 1/3 cup brine-packed feta, patted dry and crumbled
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
- Preheat oven (and steel or stone) to 550 F, with rack placed about eight inches from the upper heating element.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat with a generous swirl of olive oil in the pan. When the oil begins to shimmer, add onions and leeks and sauté a few minutes until they are softened and translucent. Add two-thirds of the baby spinach (give it a rough-chop first if you’d like) and sauté until most of the moisture is evaporated and spinach is greatly wilted. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cool to room temperature.
- In a small bowl, combine crumbled feta and fresh dill. Set this aside.
- Lightly dust a counter or board with flour. Shape dough into a 14-inch round, taking care to keep some airy bubbles in the outer edges of the dough. Transfer to the prepared peel.
- Drizzle olive oil onto the dough and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Arrange most of the mozzarella evenly over the dough, reserving about 1/4 cup for the final layer. Scatter reserved handful of fresh spinach over the mozzarella.
- Sprinkle the feta-dill mixture over the spinach. Use a spoon to evenly distribute the sautéed spinach and onion mixture all over the pizza, and be careful not to leave large clumps of it near the pizza’s edges. Top with the remaining bit of mozzarella.
- Slide the pizza onto the preheated steel (or stone) and bake 6 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and edges of crust are puffy and golden brown.